Playing the Game

I’ve never been good at “fitting in”. I’m not sure I ever understood the rules or the reasons.

I grew up in a poor family. My grandmother was a professional seamstress. She made beautiful clothes. She often made my clothes. Back then, I was said to wear “homemade clothes”, like there was something wrong with that. My peers’ mothers would buy them clothes off the rack and bring them to my grandmother to alter to fit them better. When I grew up and met a tailor on my street, he spent time trying to get my husband to come have a suit made for him – a tailor made suit. Oh, how wonderful it would be and would look! I thought about my grandmother’s “handmade clothes” that she tailor made for me and wondered about the standards in life.

I don’t buy designer labels just because it’s a designer label. I might buy one on sale, if it’s something I like. Sometimes when I find a brand that fits me well, I do try to buy that brand. But it’s not because everyone else raves about it. It’s because I discovered it’s a good fit for me.

I am an individual. I do not march to the drums of others. Heck, I can’t even hear their drums most of the time.

I am a good listener and I listen to ideas and methods in my field of teaching. Then I adapt them to my own style. I’ve gotten into trouble at times for that. Recently I did not meet expectations. I’m a low key, non-threatening teacher. The kids love me, I love them, they learn, what’s the problem? Obviously I am not domineering enough or wearing the right labeled clothes to “fit in”.

Too bad. Their loss. And I sincerely believe that. Just as children in school did not get to share in the magic of my imagination because of their prejudices, some children today do not share in the magic of learning to think for themselves and learn more than anyone thought they could, because I don’t fit their parents’ view of the perfect teacher.

I don’t “play the game” of fitting in. If you want to hear the drummer I follow, I’ll try to point it out for you. But you can’t wear your hoity-toity prejudices and see anything new or magical.

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